HC Deb 29 March 1965 vol 709 cc1175-6
4. Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of concern among those interested in the welfare of the elderly at the proliferation of voluntary organisations at national level concerned with such matters; and if he will take steps to co-ordinate their activities.

Mr. K. Robinson

I am not aware that this matter is giving concern, but I am always ready to give these organisations any help they may wish in coordinating their work.

Mr. Jenkin

I thank the right hon. Gentleman. Would he not agree that the existence of the National Old People"s Welfare Council, perhaps the best established today, the National Corporation for the Care of Old People, the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged, and now the National Trust for the Welfare of the Elderly, is a proliferation which requires some measure of co-ordination? Would he undertake to pay heed to any representations which might be made to him on the subject?

Mr. Robinson

I will certainly consider any representations, but I understand that all the major bodies are in touch with each other and, in various ways, with my Department, which I believe willingly gives any help it can.

Mr. Rankin

Would my right hon. Friend agree that it was initially arranged at the establishment of the National Health Service that these bodies might be controlled and, if possible, reduced? Is it not the case that they have been tending to increase?

Mr. Robinson

I understand that one or two bodies have been set up recently, but I have had no representations in favour of amalgamations such as was indicated in the hon. Gentleman"s supplementary question.

Lord Balniel

This question deals with the co-ordination of the care of the elderly. Will the Minister take this opportunity to express his repugnance at the co-ordinated activities of hon. Gentlemen last week in deliberating filibustering—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. How progress is supposed to be made in Questions if we do things like this I do not know.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

Reverting to the original Question, would not the Minister be the first to agree that, of the bodies named, at any rate the first two or three have entirely different functions which do not overlap, as he knows full well, and there is no risk of conflict or collision?

Mr. Robinson

This is certainly true of the National Corporation for the Care of Old People, the National Old People"s Welfare Council, and the Women"s Voluntary Service. They all have separate functions.

Mr. Ridsdale

In any co-ordination which may be done, will the Minister take care not to undermine the wonderful work being done by the Red Cross and the W.V.S. in caring for elderly people?

Mr. Robinson

I certainly would not wish to undermine their work. Nor have I undertaken to do any co-ordination.